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Online perils don't scare young users

Porn, harassment, parents' worries taken in stride

Despite pressure from parents, 'disgusting' messages, pornographic pop-ups - and the danger of sexual assault from meeting online contacts - many students are adamant that they will continue with their internet habit.

Katin Moh, 15, spends three to four hours a day online, including an hour sending messages. He also plays online games.

'In Hong Kong, there's nothing else to do in your free time,' the Form Four student said.

He said he knew of cases in which girls had been mistreated by men they met on the internet.

His classmate, Gindi Khmgura, agreed. 'They do it just for fun and get into trouble. That's stupid,' he said.

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April Cheung, 15, said a girl who was raped recently after meeting a man she contacted on the internet was foolish for agreeing to see him.

'She shouldn't have gone out to meet the guy. She is so stupid,' she said.

April said she would never give any personal information on the internet because 'the people there could never be trusted'.

Edica Wong, 15, spends three hours a day on the internet writing her online diary or surfing chat-room websites.

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Her family has asked her to spend less time on the computer and concentrate on her schoolwork, but she ignores them.

Her main complaint is about the pornographic sites that often pop up on her monitor. 'They are really annoying. I close them immediately after I see it is porn,' Edica said.

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April said she had received disgusting messages containing erotic material on ICQ - 'I seek you', an internet programme - from the same person every day, which had caused her much distress.

'I have already deleted him from my contact list. But I still see a message from him when I go online every day,' she said. 'It is really troublesome.'

Katin Mouh also complained that there were too many erotic advertisements on the internet.

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Peggy Pang, 12, said the best way to avoid pornography was to reject any message from strangers: 'I only chat with my friends online. I won't even open messages from strangers.'

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